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Canucks GM Mike Gillis not pleased with hit on Mason Raymond, speaks out on injury

Jun 14, 2011, 11:08 PM EDT

Mike Gillis AP

The discussion of Mason Raymond‘s neck injury has dominated today’s off day before Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Raymond left Game 6 after taking a crunching hit from Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk and the hit left Raymond with fractured vertebra in his neck, an injury that had the medical staff sending him off to Mass General Hospital to be treated and examined further. Raymond will likely miss the next three to four months of action thanks to the injury.

Today, Canucks GM Mike Gillis spoke with the media in Vancouver after Canucks practice and explained his view of the hit and vented his frustration with the situation plainly. When asked if he spoke with the league about the play, Gillis let loose.

“I haven’t had any discussion with them after last night. All I can tell you is my observations of the hit. I didn’t see the puck around him. I thought the Boston player used a can opener and drove him into the boards with enough force to break his back. That’s what I saw.”

The “can opener” move is a quick and subtly dirty one so Gillis’ description of the hit is eyebrow-raising on its own. When pressed to compare this play with that of what happened to Nathan Horton thanks to Aaron Rome‘s major interference penalty that saw Horton knocked out of the playoffs with a concussion and Rome suspended for what amounts to be the length of the series, Gillis didn’t quite take the bait.

Q. Mike, given that, then, and given the suspension earlier to Aaron Rome and the heavy hand the league brought down, are you expecting any kind of supplementary discipline, and if there isn’t, will you be disappointed that there isn’t?

MIKE GILLIS: I’m not in charge of supplementary discipline, so I’m not the right person to ask about that.

I think when you see the severity of that injury, the way our doctors described it to me, very, very dangerous, and, you know, I’m always disappointed when you see any player get injured. I was asking Lawrence when the last time we saw a broken back occur in the NHL. I can’t recall it other than an incident here a number of years ago.

But it wasn’t a chipped vertebrae or cracked vertebrae. It’s broken through the belly of his vertebrae, so it’s a very serious injury. You never want to see any player on any team have an injury like that.

One of the curious sights through that entire situation last night was seeing Raymond helped off the ice without the assistance of a stretcher or a backboard or anything else meant to help keep the neck safe. Gillis did have an explanation of sorts for that.

“I don’t know why. I’m unsure. I think because he began to move his feet and he had feeling. We wondered about that as well, but I haven’t had the chance to ask Mike. But our trainers are excellent trainers, so I’m sure they felt there was no risk at that point because of what he was saying and what he was doing on the ice,” Gillis said.

We’re not about to play armchair doctor here but given how serious the injury is (Raymond is still at the hospital in Boston waiting to be fitted with a corset and cleared for travel so he can fly home) it’s stunning to know that he was able to get up and do that. At the very least, we’re glad to hear that the prognosis is good for Raymond and while he may be out of action until November, it looks like he’ll be all right to play again at some point.

The Canucks are going to miss him in Game 7 and Jannik Hansen will likely have his hands full trying to replicate what Raymond brings to that line with Chris Higgins and Ryan Kesler. As for the the Canucks being upset that the league isn’t taking a look into taking action against Boychuk, it’s a tough play to go wild about as a person with no ties to either team.

Canucks fans and brass want Boychuk to sit down and that makes sense for them, but it’s hard to come up with a reason for doing so in this case. The result was ugly but that doesn’t necessarily mean that something illegal happened.

  1. crusty14 - Jun 15, 2011 at 12:15 AM

    Another day, a new batch of complaints and whining from Vancouver management!! It is really getting monotonous. It’s odd how the gm thinks this hit was so terrible, yet the Rome hit on Horton was just his guy finishing his check. I’m a big bruin fan, and canadian, and I used to like the Canucks somewhat, but I’ve lost a lot of respect for several players and certainly their management after seeing all the bitching,moaning,whining, etc this playoff season.

    • tommytd - Jun 15, 2011 at 6:13 AM

      How about Torres? I think he’s the dirtiest player on either team.

      • thorisbc - Jun 15, 2011 at 8:31 AM

        I think he is tied with Thornton.

  2. chadyola78 - Jun 15, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    Hey Crusty, your a Bruins fan your opinion isn’t worth a cent.

  3. nolanorth - Jun 15, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    Haha u guys are such dorks (a word rarely used but it fits) do u see how much whining Boston is doing saying Van is whining all the time. 1st horton (keep yr head up, it wasn’t that dirty of a hit) 2nd the finger incident ( keep yr finger out of his mouth if u don’t want it bit) 3rd the diving (look at yr own team, just as much trying to play a call, no different)

    Btw next time you hear the American anthem, that’s Canada whopping yr ass in the lyrics!!!!

    • cannonblast14 - Jun 15, 2011 at 1:40 AM

      Ill take Chadyola78’s words and say your a Canucks fan your opinion isn’t worth a cent.
      So true. Of course Boston fans arent going to like the Horton and hit and Vancouver fans are going to think it was fine.
      The Boychuk hit just seemed like an awkward hit. Im sorry, he could have let up but its the SCF, that hits going to be finished everytime.

      • thorisbc - Jun 15, 2011 at 8:36 AM

        NOT if the player being hit does not have the ability to defend himself … look it up! Don’t quote partials just to try to win an argument. Rome’s hit was disgusting and he got what he deserved, Boychuck’s hit while not QUITE as revolting was still worthy of review and at the least a reprimand. Calling a penalty on the play should have been a given.

      • manhorse69 - Jun 15, 2011 at 11:27 AM

        Even if a penalty were called, the outcome doesn’t change. It’s 2 minutes for tripping/interference (take your pick) and the guy still has a broken back. Who ever got called for a minor penalty and then got supplementary discipline?

      • cannonblast14 - Jun 15, 2011 at 12:02 PM

        @thorisbc. The thing is, there are tons of plays in hockey where a player cant necessarily protect himself. Last game, Torres and i believe McQuad were going in behind Thomas and Torres tripped him up a little and hit slid into the boards. McQuad couldnt protect himself. He just didnt go in awkwardly like Raymond did. 99 times out of 100 that Raymond check would result in no injury and play would just carry on. It just so happened that Raymond went in the wrong way and got injured. I feel for the guy, i really do, but it was not dirty at all.

    • galuple - Jun 15, 2011 at 2:05 AM

      I would just like to say, on behalf of most Canadians, and Vancouverites, that Nolanorth is an idiot and not all of us up here are that stupid.

      Besides it’s the playoffs. What else is a GM supposed to do? They can’t trade players during the playoffs. Besides, someone has to make headlines during the off days. Those poor hockey writers need something to talk about.

    • gallyhatch - Jun 15, 2011 at 7:59 AM

      If you want to employ that logic nolanorth, than Raymond shouldn’t have gone down in a fetal position.. by your count, it’s Raymond’s fault.

      • thorisbc - Jun 15, 2011 at 8:44 AM

        Give your head a shake dude! Boychuk put him in that position by putting his stick between his legs and corkscrewing him. I am not saying Boychuk is an evil guy, I don’t even think he is a mean guy like Torres & Thornton. I am saying that he had a lapse in judgement and at the very least it should have been called. What the hell is with you Boston fans, there is absolutely no difference between your whining and that of Vancouver’s fans. No biggy to me I am from Minnesota and if we had the same kind of money to spend on the Wild as Vancouver and Boston do then both of you would be in trouble.

      • gallyhatch - Jun 15, 2011 at 11:22 AM

        thorisbc, I’m joking over here. I’m pointing out the absurd reasoning some of our fellow posters are using.
        To suggest that Raymond is at fault for Boychuk’s actions is as asinine to suggest that Bergeron & Horton are to blame for the actions of Burrows & Rome.

        I’m a Bruins fan, and I do think the Boychuk / Raymond play was questionable at best, and probably should have resulted in a minor penalty. It’s one more non-call in this series that has had several, and the officiating has gone both ways. No fanbase really has a right to cry about the officiating here. (although plenty people from both sides will anyway)

        Can’t wait for tonight’s game, this is going to be the longest workday ever.

        Let’s go B’s.

  4. crusty14 - Jun 15, 2011 at 1:44 AM

    That’s exactly the problem, Vancouver IS whining all the time! If the Canucks weren’t doing all this bs whining and diving , I’d have no complaints about the series at all. Just play the damn game and stop looking at the refs to call every minor infraction, cause it ain’t gonna happen!

    • thorisbc - Jun 15, 2011 at 8:56 AM

      Crusty you’re whining as much as any Vancouver fan. The only thing worth whining about is the crappy announcing by NBC and the interference by the refs. Let ’em play the game. It’s about hockey, not about lining your pockets.

      • bsandcs - Jun 15, 2011 at 12:02 PM

        i think what’s most annoying is not the fans on either side that are whining but the Canucks teams itself (players/coaches/management) that is constantly whining. you can’t control what fans are gonna say/think, but some of the things coming out of the mouths of team personnel is just foolish.

  5. insider7 - Jun 15, 2011 at 5:13 AM

    If Gillis is really as concerned about hard hits as he claims to be, then why was he silent after the vicious, illegal hit on Nathan Horton? Gillis was nowhere to be seen; he was AWOL. Gillis is a fraud and everybody knows it.

    One more thing…this wasn’t a “crunching hit” by Boychuck on Raymond, as the article states. It looked rather routine and innocuous. It was a low-speed, low-impact incident that resulted in a significant injury. It’s a freak injury, not a vicious hit.

    • daveydawg - Jun 15, 2011 at 8:10 AM


    • thorisbc - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:02 AM

      Correct, not a vicious hit, but certainly one that could have been avoided on a player that was unable to defend himself because Boychuck corkscrewed him. As I said before, there was no intent to injure and I am sure Boychuck would handle it differently if he had it to do over again. Corkscrewing is a common practice, they all do it when they can get away with it; its just another part of the game. In this case the refs screwed up, they should have made the call.

  6. tommytd - Jun 15, 2011 at 6:16 AM

    V isn’t happy unless they’re whining about something. If you want to whine, how about whining about your Sedin sisters who have yet to show up for this series!

  7. donttouchthedirtypenny - Jun 15, 2011 at 7:07 AM

    Quote from Kerry Fraser, one of the best and most respected NHL referees of all time on his TSN blog: “Boychuk should have received a minor penalty on the play and no suspension should result. I wish Mason Raymond a full and speedy recovery from his injury.”

    • thorisbc - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:14 AM

      Quality statement of fact.

  8. daveydawg - Jun 15, 2011 at 8:12 AM

    if a canuck came down with the flu, they’d be blaming boston for the air quality. what a bunch of _____.

    • thorisbc - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:14 AM

      Moronic statement made by somebody who is just as likely to whine as anyone else.

      • bobwsc - Jun 15, 2011 at 10:18 AM

        let go of the Bill O’Reilly ‘holier than thou’ act

  9. shaqattaqer - Jun 15, 2011 at 8:57 AM

    People keep callin the Sedins “sisters”… and it couldn’t be a weaker attempt to be funny. Bruins fans aren’t anything if not unoriginal when it comes to this. Come up with better zings! Some of the other things said about non Sedin players on Vancouver have been pretty funny.

    • thorisbc - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:13 AM

      Unfortunately, the Sedins don’t seem to have what it takes to fight for the cup. Boston has done a masterful job in taking them out of the game. Fortunately for Vancouver, they have the depth to compensate for the “sisters” inability to bring some grit to mix in with their unquestionable skill. While Boston does what it has to do to cover them and the Kesler line, the 3rd and fourth lines seem to be able step up and make it interesting.

  10. crusty14 - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    Thor, the only thing I’m guilty of whining about is the level of vancouvers whining! Although I am a bruin fan, I’m first and foremost a hockey fan! If a player on my team deserves a penalty, I’d be the first to agree. I do believe boy chuck could have/should have received a minor for tripping or interference, but that’s it. There was no deliberate attempt to injure, or any time to think that any major I jury could have resulted from them both going into the boards. If he got a minor penalty called against him, I’d have no problem with it, I’m just sick of the begging vancouvers’ gm, coach or whoever is doing.

    I’m sure the NBC coverage is awful, that’s why I can’t watch it! But believe me, the CBC coverage is as biased towards the Canucks as NBC is to the bruins!

    I’m not sure what your comment about lining pockets refers to though?

    • thorisbc - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:23 AM

      I can agree with some of what you say Crusty. We are moving toward the middle ground. All I have said is that a penalty should have been called. BTW, NBC’s coverage is massively more biased than the CBC’s. Its all part of that Canadian “nice” crap. Canadians like to think of themselves as neutral, seems its better to have no opinion and look like mamby pamby’s (Sedins fit right in), than to stand up and be counted. Thank the Lord for “Coaches Corner”, at least Cherry adds a little color.

  11. crusty14 - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    I also agree to let ’em play, but unfortunately the bs in the post whistle scrums is and always will be a part of the game. The refs did fail by not addressing this in game 1. I’ve always felt that if the refs called things early, perhaps even calling one guy instead of sending them both off, the teams would get the message and quit the crap.

    A perfect example is game 7 of the bruins/bolts series. The players played and didn’t get involved in the after the whistle stuff because they didn’t want to get a penalty and be the goat of a game 7 loss…. The result? A great game, no penalties and everyone is happy. Hopefully the game tonight can be decided the same way, with the bruins winning of course!

    • thorisbc - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:25 AM

      Right on!

  12. crusty14 - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:31 AM

    That is true, Cherry adds a lot of colour (notice Canadian spelling!), mostly from his jackets!

    • manhorse69 - Jun 15, 2011 at 11:31 AM

      Former Bruin coach

  13. crusty14 - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:41 AM

    Thor, you’re absolutely right about the opie twins ( how’s that one shaq?) lack of grit. If it wasn’t for the kesslers or Torres types Vancouver would be in a lot of trouble now, or the series would already be over.

    I still can’t believe opie 1 just stood there and took all those shots from marchand. I’ve played a lot of hockey in my day and never would let anyone get away with hitting me once or twice, never mind 8 times without some kind of response.

    • shaqattaqer - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:46 AM

      opie twins is OK by me. haven’t seen that one before, so kudos.

  14. crusty14 - Jun 15, 2011 at 10:43 AM

    Is Bill O’Reilly a hockey player?

    • govtminion - Jun 15, 2011 at 11:12 AM

      No, but I’d love to see him get hit in the face with a puck regardless.

  15. manhorse69 - Jun 15, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    Gillis basically said it was a freak play when he mentioned how long it’s been since someone has had an injury like that. If there were intent and weren’t an awkward and unfortunate series of events, we would be seeing this type of play/injury all the time.

  16. habsman - Jun 15, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    Another on-ice incident involving a Bruin with No suspension. What a big surprise.

    • manhorse69 - Jun 15, 2011 at 12:35 PM

      This wasn’t an “incident”.

    • savoirlaire - Jun 15, 2011 at 12:41 PM

      God, Habsman, you are a pathetic little POS…you have nothing to add to any of the topics that you post on except some whiny, bitter, sand in your vag comment about how the Bruins are given favorable treatment. Every time.

      Didn’t you habsmama teach you that if you can’t say something nice (or even original), then STFU?

      • Ralphie - Jun 15, 2011 at 1:09 PM

        Ditto, Habsman has a Bruins-sized splinter in her meat wallet. Her douchebaggery has no limits. She smugly proclaimed how the B’s were going to get bounced in game 6 the other day. Now she’ll come back and say game 7.

  17. cannonblast14 - Jun 15, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    If you read the quotes, Gillis never said it was a dirty hit. He basically just said it was an awkward hit that Boychuk should have probably gotten a penalty for since the puck was not there. Your own GM doesnt agree with you Vancouver fans, give it a rest.
    Notice the media difference between this hit and the Horton hit. Notice the players response to this hit and the Horton hit. Every player was not asked what they think of the Raymond hit such as the case with the Horton hit.
    It wasnt dirty or cheap, but it could have been a minor interference call, just probably not in the SCF.

  18. crusty14 - Jun 15, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    I think habsman should be banned from this site as every post he makes is idiotic.

    • habsman - Jun 15, 2011 at 1:58 PM

      Wow, looks like I hit a nerve.

      There have been at least half a dozen incidents involving you precious Bruins over the past couple of months.

      Chara’s hit on Pacioretti (5 plus a game) No suspension.
      Lucic hit from behind on Spacec No suspension.
      Ference flipping the finger to the fans. No suspension.
      Ference shoulder hit to the head of Halpern. No suspension.
      Horton sucker punch after the whistle on D. Moore (10 minutes and a game) No suspension.
      Lucic sucker punch to Hedberg after the whistle (10 minutes and a game) No suspension.
      Horton throws water bottle at fans in Tampa. No suspension.

      But when Arron Rome delivers a borderline hit on Horton he gets 4 games.

      And when these thing are pointed out, the three amigo’s, ralphie, crusty and savoir get all in a huff. And such language, tsk, tsk. When the playoff are over, will you three guys still get together and stroke eack other?

      • cannonblast14 - Jun 15, 2011 at 5:40 PM

        Ok hes not a POS, hes just a little panzy. Looks like every little punch is on your list. Everyone punches people, get over it.

      • crmgoodness - Jun 16, 2011 at 12:56 AM

        Dammit…Horton at it again with the water bottle…

  19. jensen2401 - Jun 15, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    Actually, Gillis did say it was dirty when he said ” I didn’t see the puck around him. I thought the Boston player used a can opener and drove him into the boards with enough force to break his back. That’s what I saw.”

    Unless you’re arguing that a can opener is NOT a dirty play…

    I’m still gobsmacked that Joe Yerdon found Gillis’ can opener assertion “eyebrow-raising” when the footage of the play he posted in another article ( shows that’s exactly what it was.

    Screenshots from the NBC footage posted in Yerdon’s article:

    I get that writing for web publication has different constraints than print journalism but really…would asking for a little research be asking too much? It took me five minutes using a crappy, 5 year-old, 17-inch laptop monitor to see that Gillis was right.

  20. habsman - Jun 15, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    You don’t get it cannon. There’s nothing wrong with two guys dropping their gloves and settling things. I’m talking about two different standards of discipline. You obviously can’t argue with the facts. And I blame it on Colie (Daddy) Campbell and his bias towards the Bruins. And don’t tell me he recused himself in decisions involving Boston. If it wasn’t an obvious conflict, he wouldn’t have stepped down before the finals.

    • Ralphie - Jun 16, 2011 at 11:51 AM

      Have a miserable summer Habsman. Ha ha ha…tell me again how my summer as a B’s fan is gonna suck when they lose in the finals.

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